Page last updated at 20:24 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 21:24 UK

Bulgarian chosen to head Unesco

By Hugh Schofield

Irina Bokova after her election
Ms Bokova has been Bulgaria's delegate at Unesco since 2005

The UN cultural and scientific organisation Unesco has chosen its new leader, former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Irina Bokova.

Ms Bokova beat the favourite, Egyptian Culture Minister Faruq Hosni, whose candidacy had been clouded by allegations of anti-Semitism.

It took five days and five rounds of voting to choose the new Unesco head.

In the end it was down to Ms Bokova and Mr Hosni. In the final round it seems a coalition formed to keep Mr Hosni out.

Mr Hosni, who would have been the first Arab head of Unesco, was always a controversial candidate.

For many years Egypt's culture minister, he has spoken in the past about the "infiltration of Jews into the international media".

Last year he said he would be willing to "burn Israeli books in Egyptian libraries", though he has since apologised for the remark.

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